Cable & Wireless refused to comment on a report that it may hand over a controlling stake in Hong Kong Telecom to the Chinese government, in return for greater access to mainland Chinese markets.
A report in this week's 'Sunday Telegraph' said that C&W chief executive Dick Brown is considering lowering its stake below 50 per cent, to give the Chinese government overall control. A Hong Kong Telecom spokesperson said the story was "pure speculation".
Cable & Wireless is known to be in talks with a range of potential partners. The failure of its earlier bid to merge with MCI, now snapped up by BT, and its recent formation of a massive cable joint venture that merges its Mercury subsidiary with three cable suppliers, has significantly changed the balance of C&W's business. Front runner to be C&W's next business partner is Global One, the telecomms services joint venture between France Telecom, Deutsche Telekom and US-based Sprint.
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